Highlights from the 2016 Yoga in America Study

Published on: January 13, 2016

Who Practices Yoga?

  • There are 36.7 million U.S. yoga practitioners, up from 20.4 million in 2012
  • Practitioners are significantly more involved in many other forms of exercise such as running, cycling and weightlifting, than non-practitioners
  • 74 percent of American practitioners have been doing yoga for five or fewer years
  • The top five reasons for starting yoga are: flexibility (61 percent); stress relief (56 percent); general fitness (49 percent); improve overall health (49 percent) and physical fitness (44 percent)
  • 86 percent of practitioners self-report having a strong sense of mental clarity, 73 percent report being physically strong and 79 percent give back to their communities – all significantly higher rates than non-practitioners
  • Women represent 72 percent of practitioners, compared to 28 percent of men

A Booming Industry

  • 34 percent of Americans say they are somewhat or very likely to practice yoga in the next 12 months
  • 80 million more Americans will likely try yoga for the first time in 2016
  • Students spend $16 billion per year on classes, gear and equipment, up from $10 billion in 2012

New Trends to Monitor

  • 37 percent of practitioners have children under the age of 18 who also practice yoga
  • 30- to 49-year-olds are 43 percent of the practicing public, followed by 50+ (38 percent) and 18-29 (19 percent)

The State of Yoga Teaching

  • All audiences surveyed agree that warm and friendly demeanor, clarity, and knowledge of yoga poses are characteristics that make for a great yoga teacher
  • There are two people interested in becoming a yoga teacher for every one current teacher
  • Half of yoga teachers have been teaching for more than six years

Want more information? See our one-page highlights!

For Teachers and Practitioners


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For Businesses and Vendors


For the American


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The 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance is a national study benchmarking a similar study conducted in 2008 and 2012 by Yoga Journal. For this study, Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance partnered with Ipsos Public Affairs to expand the understanding of the practice of yoga in America and to determine how Americans view yoga. This augmented study focused on the growing practice of yoga in America, from the perspectives of yoga practitioners (practitioners), teachers, studio owners, as well as the non-practicing U.S. public.

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